Multicultural News

Teach for America Indy reaches 15, continues work fighting education inequity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There are about 2,200 teacher openings in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Education. Just like other places, Indiana is experiencing teacher shortages. Teach for America representatives say they are taking aim at not only increasing teacher numbers, but the diversity we see in the classroom.

Data continues to show that students perform better when the teaching staff and students demographics line up. Teach for America Indianapolis is entering its 15th year. Representatives say they are committed to the fight to end educational inequity.

A new mural at “Teach for America” paints a diverse picture of what the future of education could hold for students in Indiana.

“We wanted to reflect that in the work in our mural. This artwork was done by a collective of black and brown artist in the city,” Teach for American Chief Strategy officer Darius Sawyers said.

He said the great resignation is hitting industries across the board, but they aren’t slowing down on taking steps to reach the 2030 goal.

“We want to make sure that we are doubling the outcomes for student proficiency in third grade reading, fourth grade math, and eighth grade math,” Sawyers said. “And also says [a lot] for completion rate in 21st Century scholar sign ups.”

Reaching that goal will need people passionate about education who have leadership and community qualities, and that involves recruiting more Black and brown men, but also people who may not come from the traditional teaching backgrounds.

“I was one of the few people that wanted to teach. Education cost so much. I couldn’t pay for that extra semester [or] an extra year to do student teaching,” Jarrod Dortch said.

He worked on the mural, but also started teaching in the mid 2000s through “Teach for America” in New Jersey.

“It was one of the best ones I’ve done [and] one of the most important ones I’ve done. Like I said, I’ve come full circle,” Dortch said.

He’s now teaching at the collegiate level. While sitting in his community garden, he draws connections to the idea of growth.

“I feel like everything you’re doing is about growing. Growing educationally. You’re growing artistically, and you’re growing as an individual,” he said